These are exciting times when the need for new technology is met with both ingenuity and responsibility. This past decade has seen many new advances applied to old problems and mysteries. When it comes to space exploration, there are some fantastic examples of this cutting-edge technology that have risen to meet the challenge of the unknown.
These technologies range from the new class of super-heavy lift rockets created to the multitude of orbiting satellites and rovers on Mars. Here we will look at some of the technology that makes our latest space exploration missions possible.
One of the most important types of technology in space exploration is satellites. These can be used both for communication and navigation. While this concept isn’t restricted to launching into orbit, it is a significant part of what made space exploration possible in the first place. Satellites have been launched by different nations, and international organizations such as NASA, for over half a century.
They have been instrumental in the communications revolution right now. Satellites send out data and information about our planet, weather patterns, location, amongst other things. Scientists use this data to predict natural disasters. Similarly, governments use satellites to monitor conflict zones, inform the public about the weather forecast, etc.
The next critical piece of technology is the telescope. In olden times, astronomers used huge lenses in ground-based telescopes to observe the stars, planets, and other objects in space. However, with time these became too heavy for most earth-bound observatories to host them, forcing astronomers to seek out other options. Enter space telescopes.
Today, many ground-based telescopes are actually in orbit around our planet. They are supported by the International Space Station (ISS), Hubble Telescope, and various other spacecraft orbiting Earth. These orbiting observatories allow astronomers to take pictures of distant stars, galaxies, and much more; without the interference of the atmosphere, which blurs out finer details in images. The ability to observe objects in deep space is crucial for astronomy research. Many scientific breakthroughs have been made because of data collected by space-based telescopes like the Kepler telescope.
The technology used for launching craft into orbit relies primarily on rockets. Many space agencies use chemical and electric propulsion systems over the years to send people in outer space—with varying degrees of success. Both types of rockets are capable of speeds up to around 17,500 mph (28,164 km/h), roughly 5 miles per second. This makes space exploration possible because it allows objects to escape the Earth’s atmosphere and gravitational forces.
4. Space Applications
The types of technology used in space exploration are not limited to what can be seen from Earth. The International Space Station (ISS) uses various techniques to operate in space. One example is the many software algorithms used for things like data storage, communication between modules, etc.
However, operating in space exposes applications to extreme conditions. Because of these conditions, engineers designed RAM developed for space and other applications. These pieces of hardware can withstand the high radiation and other factors found in space, which would otherwise cause a program to fail.
Space agencies also use robots in space exploration, either stationary or mobile. Robots range from the colossal mining robot on Mars to the now-famous Curiosity Rover, currently exploring Mars. Engineers program these rovers with an incredible array of software applications that allow them to navigate over a planet’s surface and relay essential data back to Earth about conditions on said planet.
6. Portable Technology
While the types of technology used in space exploration are not limited to what these agencies can see from Earth, some technologies come back. One such example is portable technology like laptops and other personal computing devices. These items can accumulate a large amount of data while on an expedition or mission into space. However, they need to be small enough to fit into a spacecraft with other essential hardware components for traveling and exploring space. The hardware necessary for these computers needs to be extremely durable and reliable. It must meet high standards even when exposed to hazardous conditions.
Space exploration is a significant area where technology has been allowed to flourish. From telescopes and robots which explore alien worlds up close through to rockets that launch spacecraft into orbit, without this technology, the world will not have seen the great leaps forward in the knowledge of the universe beyond Earth. All this fantastic technology allows humanity to explore deep space and discover new planets.